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All Handicapped Should Be Able to Park Close

October 06, 2002

Re "Handicap-Parking Crackdown on Target," Sept. 22:

My wife and I are in our late 70s. She is badly afflicted with arthritis. She has already had a hip replaced. When she has a good day, we may go shopping. Her two-hour stroll around the mall can be covered by me and many other people in about 20 minutes. She wishes to be as independent as she can; she is just slower and rests more. And those are the good days.

I don't use the marked spaces when driving without my wife.

Gregg H. Wright

Fallbrook

*

Christine Hanley's article is well-written and an eye-opener, even for me, a person with a disability who needs a handicap parking space for my van's side-loading ramp. I had suspected some abuse of handicap placard use, but I am surprised at the extent and the number of violations in Irvine alone. I have found it extremely difficult to find handicap parking at the Irvine Spectrum and local shopping centers.

Hats off to the Irvine police for their good work. I thank them for making my life, and those of all legitimate handicap-placard users in Irvine, a little easier. I encourage other cities to follow Irvine's good example. Coffee, anyone?

Phyllis Collier

Irvine

*

Not all handicaps are visible, and just because a person is not in a wheelchair does not mean that person can walk very well or very far without stopping.

I had chemotherapy last year, which weakened me so much that many times I could walk only 30 feet before I had to stop and rest. But if I had let somebody push me around in a wheelchair all the time, (there was no way I could have pushed it) I would have become even more disabled. (I have recovered, thank you.)

My late husband had kidney disease, which reduced his blood count to the bare minimum. There were times he could barely walk.

My daughter has a heart condition that could have killed her a long time ago. Because of that health problem, she has a hard time breathing and is rather weak. But she stays out of the wheelchair as much as she can because she does not wish to depend on it.

The author of the letter saying that only wheelchair users should get handicap parking doesn't understand a whole range of illnesses and disabilities. I hope he will never find himself in this position. In the meantime, I can only say that his gripe is mean-spirited.

Irena Weygold

Irvine

*

Hooray for the Irvine police crackdown and the article on the abuse of handicap parking privileges in Irvine. I hope this attention to the problem will eliminate the need to grocery shop at 7 a.m. on Saturdays, just so I can park in a handicap spot.

While placard abuse poses the biggest obstacle for disabled individuals searching for a parking place, other habits displayed by insensitive people that often translate to big problems for mobility-impaired persons are:

Contrary to popular belief, the striped areas around the handicap parking spaces are not for shopping carts, motorcycles or very small cars. Disabled drivers and/or passengers need this space to swing vehicle doors open as wide as possible; to maneuver a wheelchair, walker, oxygen tank or other device.

Blinking hazard lights of an illegally parked vehicle don't send any kind of clear, positive message to disabled drivers. Do the blinking lights mean we should be understanding because there's some kind of emergency in Ralphs that the able-bodied driver had to address? Do they mean that we should sit and wait for that driver to return to the illegally parked vehicle? Or perhaps they're intended for the police--a plea of sorts to allow that driver to park illegally for a short period of time.

Carry on, Irvine police. Disabled drivers in Irvine and beyond applaud you.

Joanne Shaw

Irvine

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